Dr McKenna Cup
Donegal 2-7 Monaghan 0-15
BY RYAN FERRY
MONAGHAN collected their first win of the season when they finished strongly to defeat Donegal at a soaked MacCumhaill Park tonight.
Joel Bradley Walsh notched an early goal for Paddy Carr’s Donegal but the Farney men were two ahead at half-time.
A Luke McGlynn penalty brought Donegal back into contention but Monaghan’s seasoned campaigners helped them over the line.
Both sides were beaten by Down in their McKenna Cup openers and were hoping for better displays in Ballybofey.
Donegal got off to a great start with a goal in the second minute.
Odhran Doherty lumped the ball in towards the edge of the square and it broke into the path of Luke McGlynn. The 18-year-old saw his snapshot saved by Darren McDonnell, but Joel Bradley Walsh was alert and buried the rebound into the bottom corner.
Monaghan soon settled into the game and Micheál Bannigan and Darren McDonnell kicked frees while Sean Jones also slotted over a point.
Martin O’Reilly has returned to the Donegal panel for the first time since 2018 and he landed a great score in the 13th minute.
Points from Sean Jones and Stephen O’Hanlon pushed the Farney men ahead, and while Donegal had to work hard for their scores, Jamie Brennan (free) and Daire Ó Baoill were both on target.
Bradley Walsh followed up with another super point and it was the full-forward himself who won the initial turnover.
Monaghan came into the game strongly late in the first half and they were able to get on top of Donegal’s kick-outs.
Vinny Corey’s men started to move the ball faster and that heralded two frees which Bannigan nailed.
Shane Carey came off the bench and landed two points in the space of thirty seconds and Monaghan were 0-9 to 1-4 ahead at the break.
There was a delay at the start of the second half as Jack McSharry picked up an injury moments after his introduction.
Bannigan opened the scoring in the second half with a free before debutant Gavin Mulreany made a great save to deny Shane Carey.
Rory Beggan floated over the resulting ’45’ and that moved the away side four points clear.
Johnny McGroddy settled Donegal with a free and Donegal then won a penalty in the 57th minute when Conor O’Donnell was pushed in the back as he took a shot at goal.
McGlynn stepped up and buried the ball into the bottom corner.
That gave the drenched Donegal fans something to cheer but Monaghan were able to get their scores more easily and they tagged on placed balls from Bannigan and Jack McCarron.
Carr’s charges showed heart and McGroddy landed a monster free and then Conor O’Donnell levelled matters up in the 68th minute.
It was all to play for heading into the closing exchanges and Monaghan’s experienced players took control.
Bannigan converted his sixth free before Beggan slotted over a ’45’.
The win wasn’t enough to send the Farney side through to the McKenna Cup semi-finals, but Corey will be happy with the win.
Joel Bradley Walshe (1-1), Luke McGlynn (1-0 pen), Johnny McGroddy (0-2, 2f), Jamie Brennan, Daire Ó Baoill, Martin O’Reilly, Conor O’Donnell (0-1 each)
Micheál Bannigan (0-6, 6f) Sean Jones, Shane Carey and Rory Beggan (0-2 each), Darren McDonnell, Stephen O’Hanlon and Jack McCarron (0-1 each)
Gavin Mulreany; Mark Curran, Caolan Ward, John Ross Molloy; Martin O’Reilly (0-1), Brendan McCole, Odhran Doherty; Stephen McMenamin, Domhnall Mac Giolla Bhríde; Jamie Brennan (0-1, 1f), Daire Ó Baoill (0-1), Johnny McGroddy (0-2, 2fs); Luke McGlynn (1-0, 1 pen), Joel Bradley Walsh (1-1), Kane Barrett. Subs: Jack McSharry, Kealan Dunleavy and Conor O’Donnell (0-1) for Barrett, Mac Giolla Bhríde, and Bradley Walsh (Half-time), Jamie Grant for McSharry (40 mins), Gary McFadden for Molloy (42 mins), Kieran Tobin and Philip Doherty for O’Reilly and Doherty (56 mins).
Darren McDonnell (0-1, 1f); Ryan Wylie, Kieran Duffy, Thomas McPhillips; Colm Lennon, Killian Lavelle, Kevin Loughran; Francie Hughes, Dessie Ward; Joel Wilson, Micheál Bannigan (0-6, 6fs), Shane Slevin; Jason Irwin, Stephen O’Hanlon (0-1), Sean Jones (0-2). Subs: Shane Carey (0-2) for Irwin (25 mins), Rory Beggan (0-2, 2 ’45’s) and Jack McCarron (0-1, 1f) for McDonnell and Jones (Half-time), Ryan O’Toole for McPhillips (40 mins), Fintan Kelly for Hughes (43 mins), Fintan Beggan for Wilson (49 mins), Kevin Sheridan for Slevin (67 mins).
Referee: Conor Dourneen (Cavan).